Now that the war on the Indian sub-continent is over and the new nation of Bangladesh has been formed out of what was East Pakistan, most of the fighting is just a bitter memory.
Now that the war on the Indian sub-continent is over and the new nation of Bangladesh has been formed out of what was East Pakistan, most of the fighting is just a bitter memory. The men of Bangladesh still tell stories of the battles, the children speak of what it was like to hide for days on end.
But many of the women remain silent -- especially the women who claim they were raped by Pakistani soldiers and who are now pregnant, carrying children nobody wants. They are shunned by their families and their neighbours.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman has called them "the heroes of the struggle" and Government officials have pressed for them to be housed in a special camp, more for their own protection than for their comfort.
This file, a telerecording from the National Broadcasting Company of America, shows the camp in which the pregnant women are housed.
SYNOPSIS: It was in villages like this that the liberation movement first caught fire in what was then East Pakistan. But the villages were first to experience the resistance of the Pakistani troops. The people still speak of it -- the men telling of the fighting and the children telling of the running and the hiding. It is the women who remain silent -- women like this 16-year-old window, now pregnant. Like thousands of women throughout the newly-created state of Bangladesh, she now carries a child she does not want, a child allegedly conceived by rape.
Since January, many of the women supposedly ravaged by Pakistani troops have been living in this camp, cared for by a Government rehabilitation society. All of them are pregnant, and most are very young -- some only 13 years old. In a few cases, their parents have abandoned them -- in others, their husbands have rejected them. About 70 have had abortions, and those who have had their babies plan to give them away. Most of them in the camp were held prisoners by the Pakistani troops in army barracks. For weeks, day and night, they say they were forced to submit to whatever the soldiers demanded. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman has called these women heroines. But politics, war, and even the liberation have hardly any interest for them. They are the victims of a war -- and the unwanted children they bear will share their grief.